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Ultimate carrot cake

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Photo: Francesca Hill
Photo: Francesca Hill

    Drizzled with chocolate and packed with fruit, this is my lightest, ultra-moist carrot cake — a carrot cake with attitude. For the best results only grate the carrots when ready to use and do mix them with lemon juice, or they are inclined to go brown.

    Serves: 10 people generously
    Preparation: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes soaking time
    Cooking: Approximately 1 hour

    INGREDIENTS
    50 g dried crystallised tropical fruit
    50g chopped stoned dates
    Juice of ½ orange
    Zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tbsp juice
    150g spelt flour
    1½ tsp baking powder
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    2 heaped tsp mixed spice
    1 tsp allspice
    1 tsp ground ginger
    100g ground almonds
    350g soft brown sugar
    3 large free-range eggs
    1 tbsp golden syrup
    350ml vegetable oil
    400g carrots, finely grated

    To Decorate
    150g dark chocolate
    Fresh fruit in season

    METHOD

    Grease and flour either a 23-24 cm bundt tin or springform tin.

    Heat the oven to 170°C.

    In a small bowl soak the dried fruit with the juices and zest and set aside for at least ½ hour.

    Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices in a large bowl.

    Add the ground almonds.

    In another large bowl sieve the sugar to get rid of any lumps.

    Add the eggs, oil, golden syrup, and dried fruit mixture to the sugar.

    Add the carrots to the lemon juice/dried fruit mixture.

    Now combine the flour with the fruit/carrot mixture making sure there are no lumps underneath. l Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour or longer until the top is firm and golden. Do not be tempted to look before 45 minutes.

    Leave to cool slightly in the tin. Then turn out to cool on a wire rack.

    To serve: melt the dark chocolate and drizzle or pour it over the cake letting it run down the sides.

    Decorate with the fresh fruit.

    Ruth Joseph is co-author of Warm Bagels and Apple Strudel, Kyle Books, £25

    Method
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